Headlines for Thursday, July 15th

Edwards County Treasurer Debbie Smith says the county’s 2021 Mobile Home taxes are due July 30th. A late fee of $25 will be assessed August 1st, and an additional $25 fee will be added every month the tax is delinquent. Payments may be made in person, mailed to 50 East Main Suite 11 in Albion, or placed in the drop box on the northeast corner of the courthouse.

The FCHS Board of Education will meet tonight at 6 in the school multipurpose room. Board members are scheduled to approve a tentative Return to School plan, as well as fees for the upcoming year. In personnel matters, the board is anticipated to act on the employment of an athletic director and the hiring of fall coaches.

Fairfield police arrested several people yesterday. 26-year-old Fairfield resident Stephen C. Gavins was arrested on a pair of failure to appear warrants for traffic offenses- one from Clay County for speeding and the other from Edwards County for driving with a suspended license. He was held in the Wayne County Jail, with bond set at $670. 28-year-old Belleville resident Austin W. Ward was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct. He was held, pending the posting of $120 bond.

Illinois State Police say two people were injured in a two-vehicle accident in Clay City yesterday morning. 20-year-old Halle Everett reportedly ran a stop sign and drove in the path of 65-year-old West York resident Gary Birchfield at the intersection of Main Street and US 50. Everett was cited for operating an uninsured vehicle and disobeying a stop sign.

The Wayne County 4-H Swine and Rabbit shows were held yesterday at the fairgrounds. In the Swine Show, Hunter Greenwalt won Champion Female, Reserve Champion Female, Champion Barrow, and Junior Showmanship. In the Rabbit Show, Kendall Barnfield was awarded Best of Show Trophy, Grace Milligan Senior Showmanship, and Macie Edwards Junior Showmanship.

White County Farm Bureau members are invited to its annual Appreciation Lunch Tuesday. The pork chop meal will be served from 11 to 1 in the Floral Hall at the White County Fairgrounds in Carmi. Members can pick up their Centennial History Booklet at the event, and those who RSVP by calling 382-8512 will be eligible for door prizes.

The Joint Review Board met last night at Fairfield City Hall to discuss possible changes to the TIF ordinance. The current ordinance says 40 percent off the top should be declared surplus and distributed to taxing bodies, and the City has discussed changing that to “up to 40 percent.” No decisions were made; the City wants to ensure the legality of a surplus, and the taxing bodies called on the City to honor the current ordinance, put in place after an agreement in 2014. Since 2014, the City has distributed more than 40 percent of the tax proceeds to the taxing bodies.

The Wayne County Health Department says it is in the middle of school vaccinations. People can schedule appointments Mondays through Thursdays from 8 to 5:30, and a walk-in – or curbside – clinic is scheduled for July 27th from 9 to 5. In addition to traditional school vaccines, the department has a small number of Pfizer COVID vaccines for children, and it will get more as available.

Paid Grandstand events are back at the Wayne County Fair tonight with Motocross racing. Fair President Gary Carter says the event had been off for a few years, and it comes back with a few changes, including side-by-side races. In other action today, Flora Hall entries should be picked up from 3 to 7, and 4-H awards will be held at 5, to be followed by the Livestock Auction at 5:30.

The Fairfield Park Board will meet tonight at 6 with a very light agenda. The night will begin with a public hearing on the Park Appropriation ordinance, and the only item of scheduled business is to approve the ordinance. Board President Jay Fyie and Park Superintendent Chris Jenkins will also give reports before the board adjourns for the night.

The Wabash County Health Department announced 23 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week. The county sat at 1,368 cases, and its positivity rate was 17.2 percent; three people were hospitalized, and 24 were in isolation.  Marion County added 42 cases since Friday and sat at 4,607 total. Jefferson County added 10 yesterday. The state Department of Public Health announced 742 new cases yesterday and seven additional deaths, marking the highest single-day case number since May 29th. Statewide totals sat at 1,398,409 cases and 23,343 deaths. The Southern Region had a seven-day positivity rate of 5.4 percent on the 11th, unchanged from the 10th.

We’re approaching the second half of July, and Freese-Notis Meteorologist Dan Hicks says a big heat wave is not in the forecast for most of Illinois. In addition to the relatively moderate conditions, he says the state will have rain chances for the next five to six days, but it should have a drier period after that. Much of the state has received excessive moisture this month, but a pocket of land between Chicago and Rockford is experiencing drought conditions.

A new law cracks down on wage theft in Illinois, increasing the damages employers are assessed if they haven’t paid workers fairly, and they will now have to pay damages of five percent- instead of two percent- of what a workers has been shorted each month. Wage payment complaints can be filed via the Illinois Department of Labor’s website.

River stages as of this morning:  the Little Wabash east of Fairfield stands at 21.33 feet, above the 17 ft. flood stage. Meanwhile, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City has a reading of 6.71 feet (flood stage is 15 ft.). The Little Wabash below Clay City is at 19.05 feet (flood stage is 18 ft.). Bonpas Creek at Browns reads 2.27 feet, and the Little Wabash at Main Street in Carmi reads 18.88 feet. The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel sits at 11.44 feet.

Today’s crude oil price is $66.25, down $2.00 from yesterday. The August crude oil price is $71.80, down $3.06 from yesterday morning.